Construction firm falls over canned contracts

Posted On Wednesday, 30 June 2010 02:00 Published by Commercial Property News
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A high-profile company with a portfolio of construction projects worth more than R1bn has been liquidated, leaving more than 700 employees and creditors high and dry.

Tembalikayise Lupepe Ilima ProjectsA high-profile company with a portfolio of construction projects worth more than R1 billion has been liquidated, leaving more than 700 employees and creditors high and dry.

Ilima Projects, an empowerment company with lucrative stakes in the Bombela Concession, operators of the Gautrain and various other contracts, was liquidated after most of its government-linked deals were cancelled.

Theo van der Heever, of T & D Trust, confirmed that his company was handling Ilima’s liquidation.

“I can confirm that they (Ilima) are in liquidation. There are fairly substantial amounts of money outstanding. A series or string of creditors are owed huge amounts of money and we are trying to find out what happened to the money.”

It was expected to take months to complete a thorough investigation into what happened to Ilima, Van der Heever said.

Ilima’s troubles began about two years ago when many of its contracts with government departments were cancelled due to its failure to deliver the projects on time.

Over the past year different government departments and parastatals canned the contracts awarded to Ilima, including:

•R456 million for the construction of a hospital in Brits, North West;

•R137m for a government office complex in Vryburg, North West;

•About R35m for the construction of a new mental hospital in Sterkfontein, Krugersdorp;

•R16m for the construction of a taxi rank in Mabopane, north of Pretoria;

•More than R60m for the construction of 1500 houses for the Mogale City Municipality in Rietvallei, Krugersdorp.

In September 2008 the Gauteng government canned a R692m contract awarded to Ilima for the construction of the Jabulani Hospital in Soweto.

This was after it was revealed that the company had submitted a fraudulent tax document when it tendered for the construction of the 300-bed hospital.

Also in 2008 the Eastern Cape government cancelled construction work valued at R450 million awarded to Ilima after the company experienced financial problems and failed to deliver the projects on time.

Speaking to The Times yesterday, former Ilima Projects human resources director Sydney Gwabeni said the company’s woes began after the cancellation of the Jabulani Hospital.

“The whole thing started in 2008 when the Soweto project was cancelled. The whole thing was triggered by the tax clearance certificate.”

Ilima Projects chief executive Tembalikayise Lupepe had not responded to questions by the time of going to press.

Last modified on Tuesday, 09 July 2013 23:48

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